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Charis McKenna, a student at the University of Bath, is to organise a mini-Olympic Games for older people on 26th June. While studying active aging, the undergraduate was inspired by her findings and started plans to make the sports event a reality.
The idea for an older people’s mini-Olympics came when the Coach Education & Sports Development student spoke to local nursing home residents about the London 2012 Olympic Games. McKenna soon became aware of the residents’ enthusiasm over it and also the fact that Bath would play a part in hosting the Paralympic preparation camp. Charis would then turn that excitement into a sports occasion made for the people living at Bridgemead Nursing Home.
Charis explained: “I wanted to challenge the perception that sport is for young, athletic people. There is a lot of focus on getting young people moving in order to tackle childhood obesity, but 2012 is also the European year of active ageing and solidarity between generations and I wanted to engage with older people’s views on sport.”
She added: “The Olympic Charter says that ‘the practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport in accordance with his or her needs’, but some people can be marginalised.”
Included in the mini-Olympics will be events such as table tennis, archery and events involving lifting and throwing. All of the residents are invited to participate and are welcome to bring along friends and family too. Competitors will be awarded with medals and certificates by Adam Pengilly, a British silver medal-winning Bob Skeleton athlete, who trains at Charis’ university.
If they’re getting involved, you have no excuses.